UK has 'serious issues' with racism that we 'need to address', PM says

1 April 2021, 13:59 | Updated: 1 April 2021, 14:01

By Kate Buck

Boris Johnson has said there are "very serious issues" which the UK has with racism which need to be addressed.

His comments came amid a backlash over a report on race and ethnic disparities has sparked backlash which found Britain is no longer a place where "the system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities".

The foreword by chair Dr Tony Sewell CBE also said that "impediments and disparities do exist, they are varied, and ironically very few of them are directly to do with racism".

The Prime Minister said it was a "very interesting piece of work", but added: " I don't say the Government is going to agree with absolutely everything in it, but it has some original and stimulating work in it that I think people need to read and to consider.

"There are very serious issues that our society faces to do with racism that we need to address.

Boris Johnson has the UK has "very serious issues" with racism
Boris Johnson has the UK has "very serious issues" with racism. Picture: PA

"We've got to do more to fix it, we need to understand the severity of the problem, and we're going to be looking at all the ideas that they have put forward, and we'll be making our response."

His comments also came after his most senior black adviser has quit - but Downing Street insisted his departure has "absolutely nothing" to do with the report.

Samuel Kasumu resigned as special adviser to the Prime Minister on civil society and communities but will stay on until May, it is reported.

On his resignation Mr Johnson said : "I worked very closely with Samuel in the last year or so and he's done some great stuff.

"I thank him very much, particularly on helping to encourage vaccine take-up amongst more hesitant groups and communities. And, actually, we're seeing some real success there.

"It is true that different groups have been coming forward at different paces, everybody is increasing their take-ups, so I thank him very much for that."